Kotoko steer clear, FUS stumble
The CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup over the weekend ensured the top sides across the continent were away from domestic league action, but there was still plenty of talent on display – notably in the shape of Ghana’s Asante Kotoko, who won again to edge closer to the title, and in Brazilian legend Rivaldo, who continues to enliven Angola’s GiraBola.
Algeria national league: Chasing pack fail to cut into lead
The top two contenders ES Setif and ASO Chlef did not play in the league at the weekend, offering the opportunity to the chasing pack to make inroads into their lead. However, the likes of USM Alger and WA Tlemcen failed to take up the chance with only former African champions Mouloudia Alger winning out of the top eight sides. Setif, with 43 points, lead by five points over Chlef with USM Alger back in third on 36.
Big game: USMA and CS Constantine were headed to a tame goalless draw before their match burst to life right at the death. A red card in the 89th minute for home fullback Adel Messali was followed soon after by a penalty for USMA, which 20-year-old Mouaouia Meklouche converted six minutes into stoppage time. But CSC, despite being down to 10 men, conjured up an equaliser straight from the restart through Bilel Bahloul.
Headline-grabbers: JS Kabylie are usually in among the leaders, but this season find themselves in the bottom half of the standings, already 12 points behind. JSK have drawn 10 of their 23 contests, the latest at the weekend when they squandered a 2-0 lead at home to relegation-threatened MC Oran. They were comfortably ahead with eight minutes left, but goals from Ibrahim Bousehaba and Sid Ahmed Aouadj secured Oran a potentially vital point.
Ghana Premier League: Kotoko well clear of heavy hearts
Asante Kotoko have seen their lead extended to 10 points with nine matches left in the championship. Kotoko profited from a defeat in the Accra derby for Hearts of Oak, who lost to Liberty Professionals. Hearts have now been ousted from second place by AshantiGold, who won away at Heart of Lions, and Aduana Stars, who are now third on 33 points and with a better goal difference than the Phobians.
Big game: Liberty Professionals spoilt any hopes that CK Akunnor, the former Bundesliga professional, would enjoy a good start to his career as coach of Hearts. His losing debut left the club’s fading championship hopes in tatters, 12 points now behind Kotoko. Kwame Boahene was the hero for Liberty with his 76th-minute strike, handing his club a second success in this season’s capital city derbies.
Headline-grabbers: AshantiGold have moved to second on the back of a run of six successive wins, with their last loss coming in mid-January. Mohamed Yakubu’s early goal had the Miners in the driving seat and Daniel Asamoah made it 2-0 before half-time.
Morocco Botola: FUS top but squander chance
FUS Rabat had a chance to increase their lead as matches involving all their closest contenders were delayed, but they could only manage to draw - their fourth in five games - as they were held goalless at CR Al Hoceima. FUS are three points ahead of Moghreb Tetouan and six ahead of defending champions Raja Casablanca, both of whom have a game in hand.
Big game: Abdessamad Lembarki had a glorious opportunity to grab a win for CR Al Hociema, but his shot hit the crossbar of FUS Rabat goalkeeper Issam Badda and ended any chance of a home triumph at the Stade Mimoun El Arsi. The result means CR Al Hociema, dominant in the match, have won just once in their last nine league outings.
Headline-grabbers: Mourad Batna set up the first goal and scored the next two to lift HUS Agadir out of the relegation zone. The 3-0 home win over relegated threatened Widad Fez was a convincing performance, starting with a sixth-minute goal from Ismail Bobakar. Batna’s pair came in the 67th and 71st minutes.
Angola GiraBola: Rivaldo packs in the crowd
Four clubs remain unbeaten after four rounds of the new season, including Sagrada Esperanca, Primeiro Agosto and Petro Atletico, who all share the leadership on eight points. Petro and Sagrada both drew at the weekend, while army club Primeiro won handsomely 4-0 against Nacional Benguela. Champions Recreativo Libolo are the other unbeaten side but they were in CAF Champions League action.
Big game: There were 22,000 people in the Estadio Cidadela for the match between Petro and AS Aviacao, one of the more eagerly awaited all-Luanda clashes. Love had the best chance for Petro, while at the other end Yannick tested goalkeeper Lama, who received a standing ovation for his performance as ASA dominated the second half but the game ended goalless.
Headline-grabbers: Rivaldo has become the star attraction in the GiraBola as he nears his 40th birthday, packing the stadium in Luena as his visiting Kabuscorp side won 1-0 away at Bravos do Maquis. Spectators did not get a glimpse of the same form that saw him score a hat-trick last weekend, but his presence is adding many more to the gate as the fans flock to see the Brazilian FIFA World Cup™ winner at close quarters.
There were only three matches in Tunisia’s Ligue 1 at the weekend, with bottom placed CS Hammam-Lif the only winners, away at Stade Tunisien.
Thika United set a new Kenya Premier League record with a 6-0 win over Posta Rangers FC
Union Douala won the derby match against Astres to go third in Cameroon’s Elite One.